Fixing a Squeaking Ceiling Fan

Ceiling fans provide a hypnotic murmur that is calming, but this cannot be enjoyed when the murmur is interrupted with squeaking. The squeak can be caused by a simple problem that is easily fixed, or it can be a sign that the fan has a malfunction that could cause more trouble. 

The following steps will help you tell if your fan just has a small glitch, or whether something more needs to be done. 

Step #1: Turn Off 

Before checking anything, turn off the fan. This will help to avoid the potential for electric shocks. 

Step #2: Check the Fitting 

Check the ceiling fan to make sure it has been properly installed. If a fan is hanging below the ceiling or is loose, tighten it. This is more than likely the culprit causing the squeak. 

Step #3: Clean the fan 

A dirty fan that has accumulated a lot of dust can get off balance, causing a squeak. If the fan is dirty, clean it. Removing the dust will allow a fan to balance and run smoothly. 

Step #4: Check the Blades 

If the fan is mounted correctly, check the fan blades. Loose fan blades make a squeaking sound, but they can be fixed. Wiggle each blade on the fan to see if they're loose. If they are, tighten them with a screwdriver. This will eliminate squeaking caused by loose blades. 

Step #5: Check the Light Fixtures 

When the fan is on, it creates motion. This causes loose light fixtures to vibrate and hit the metal near them, thus creating a squeak. Make sure that each light bulb is secure. Tighten the light fixtures and ensure any globes still have their rubber covering in the correct place. This will keep the fixtures from vibrating and squeaking while the fan is on. 

Step #6: Measure the Blades 

Blades are supposed to be the same length. If a blade is longer or shorter than the rest, it can cause the fan to squeak. To find out if this is the problem, measure the blades. If a blade is not the same length as the others, gently push or pull it so that it meets the length. 

Step #7: Balance the Blades 

Out of balance blades are a common problem. To check if a blade is out of balance, tape a penny to the base of the fan blade. Turn the fan on and see if it affects the sound. If the sound persists, remove the penny and tape it to the next blade. Do this until the blade is found.

If the penny decreases the squeak, try adding another to the same blade. The blade may need more weight. If more than one penny doesn’t work, there may be another blade on the fan that is also out of balance. 

As soon as it is determined that the blades are out of balance, go to a local home supply store and get a fan rebalancing kit. Follow the instructions in the kit and eliminate the squeak. 

Step #8: Oil Screws 

As screws age, they rust and cause squeaking when they are vibrating. Oil all of the screws in the fan to eliminate squeaking. 

Step #9: The Motor 

After trying all the other steps and finding no solution, the squeak is more than likely coming from the motor. Either contact the manufacturer about ordering replacement parts, or purchase a new fan.